The sad demise of iPhone location tracking

Macworld report that Apple is closing that accidentally left open door and we will no longer have access to the location data stored in the iPhone.

I for one and quite sad to see this go. Privacy issues not withstanding I found the fact that my phone tracked my location not to be creepy but actually interesting.

Macworld report that Apple is closing that accidentally left open door and we will no longer have access to the location data stored in the iPhone.

Firstly, it reduces the amount of the cached location information to a week’s worth, rather than relying on a size limit, as it previously did. Secondly, it no longer backs up the cache to your Mac or PC via iTunes upon syncing, so the information isn’t available to anyone with access to your computer. And finally, the cache is now deleted from the device when Location Services are disabled in iOS’s Settings app.

I for one am quite sad to see this go. Privacy issues not withstanding, I found the fact that my phone tracked my location not to be creepy but actually rather interesting.

When this news was released I, along with thousands immediately downloaded the app to explore the data.

I travel a lot for work and knowing where I’ve been over the last year has been of real interest. Keeping track of where I was on a certain day, be it Manchester, Bristol or someone more exotic was fascinating. A automatic diary entry as it where. The app developed to explore the location data stored on the phone was a huge success.

I can see why there has been the outcry, after all if the data got into the wrong hands it’d be an issue. Not that I really care if people know where I am. The location was never exact, just a triangulation based on cell towers. I can see where I was to a few hundred meteres at best.

I’ll be sad to see location tracking go. I want to keep track of where I’ve been. Maybe someone will develop an app – and I don’t mean a check in style Foursquare style. Something that just keeps a record of where I am.

What are you thoughts on the loss of location tracking? Did you download and try the app?

Update Friday 6th May 2pm UK
Elliott Jay Stocks has also blogged about the sad loss of this data.
I can’t believe I didn’t mention Mapalong in my original post. They’ll be the purveyors off all things location very soon. The beta is looking awesome.

5 Responses to “The sad demise of iPhone location tracking”

  1. Philip Morton

    It’s a shame to see it go, in a way, but if you use Gowalla, Foursquare or Facebook Places, you can use weeplaces.com to achieve more or less the same result.

  2. joe

    @Philip I like the idea of Weeplaces but I’d love it if the phone just did it automatically rather than me having to check in everywhere. Still nice idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Andy

    There’s always Google Latitude. Difference is, your phone posts your location to Googles database every few minutes. Depends if that bothers you or not. But going to the latitude website after a month or so lets you play back a recording of your movements which I thought was brilliant.
    Your location is shared with fellow google contacts, specified by you. No checking in required.

  4. nor

    You make a good point that location tracking in itself is nifty.

    Whether it’s good or bad in a certain situation, however, always depends upon user consent. Hence the quite justified outcry in this case.

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